And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

This was a quote I saw at the end of 2011 by Anaïs Nin, and it resonated with me. I felt that I was at an impasse. At the end of 2011, I felt the urge to do something. I wanted to go somewhere. Everywhere. Anywhere. I wanted to do more.

And so, when 2012 came, I did.

I flew to Cebu, a city so close to where I grew up, but I never got to see before this year.

and of course, Magellan's Cross

and of course, Magellan’s Cross

I went surfing in La-Union. My first attempt to try it last year was a bust and this year, I got to redeem myself and actually ride a wave out to shore.

Learning the basics

Learning the basics

I attended the Manila Transitio 1945 tour at Fort Santiago led by Carlos Celdran. It was a very interesting and informative day and was followed by a magical night ending with me releasing a spirit balloon.

Carlos Celdran, at the beginning of the tour (L). Release of the Spirit Balloons (R)

Carlos Celdran, at the beginning of the tour (L). Release of the Spirit Balloons (R)

I got high on caffeine at the Coffee Farmhouse in Tagaytay on a weekend with my colleagues.

Various activities at the Coffee Farmhouse

Various activities at the Coffee Farmhouse

I spent a weekend at Corregidor, the historical island located about 48 km from Manila, exploring the tadpole-shaped island’s barracks, seeing the vintage artillery and even went ghost-hunting at the old infirmary ruins.

At the Rock

At the Rock

I explored El Nido, Palawan and let it take my breath away.

At Secret Beach

At Secret Beach, El Nido, Palawan

I witnessed my little sister graduate from college. 5 years my junior, I saw my little sister grow up and I was filled with pride as I witnessed her enter the real world. And to celebrate, my sisters and I went all-out tourist in Hong Kong.

Disney brought out such child-like joy. I had a smile plastered on my face the whole time we were there.

Disney brought out such child-like joy. I had a smile plastered on my face the whole time we were there.

I attended our 10-year high school reunion in Samar.

The bus to Marabut

On our way to Marabut, Samar

I visited the historical province of Baler.

Beautiful Baler

Beautiful Baler. (Photo credit: Mark Gonzales)

I stood at the foot of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on a 12-hour lay-over.

View from the foot (feet?) of the Petronas Towers

View from the foot (feet?) of the Petronas Towers

Then went temple raiding in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

At Bayon inside the Angkor Complex

At Bayon inside the Angkor Complex

I went whitewater kayaking in Tarlac and visited the Monasterio de Tarlac after.

Whitewater Kayaking Gear (L). The Statue of the Risen Christ (R) at Monasterio de Tarlac

Whitewater Kayaking Gear (L). The Statue of the Risen Christ (R) at Monasterio de Tarlac

I tried wakeboarding in Batangas.

Jump start

Jump start

I got my third tattoo.

My Alice in Wonderland inspired tattoo, designed by Sarah Gaugler of Snow Tattoo

My Alice in Wonderland inspired tattoo, designed by Sarah Gaugler of Snow Tattoo

I joined my first run (from zombies!).

 Super Mario Sisters? My friend and I dressed up as the famous duo, Mario and Luigi at the finish line.

Super Mario Sisters? My friend and I dressed up as the famous duo, Mario and Luigi at the finish line.

I attended the Surf and Music Festival in La Union.

the crowd started moshing while Urbandub performed

the crowd started moshing while Urbandub performed

I tried paintball with my friends. I went bowling again after an x amount of years. I attended gigs, discovered new music, saw movies and read books.

With a Little Help from My Friends

I went island-hopping in Caramoan, Camarines Sur and went wakeboarding again at CWC.

Lounging at one of Caramoan's many islands

Lounging at one of Caramoan’s many islands (Photo credit: Ryan Mach of Pinoy Wandering Boy)

I went to Macau for my first solo trip and successfully bungy-jumped off the highest bungy jump in the world.

Bungy jumping off the Macau Tower was quite the experience

Bungy jumping off the Macau Tower was quite the experience

2012 was a year of wonder and discovery for me. It’s the year I met new people and the year my existing friendships grew stronger. A year I let go of my fears and let myself just be. The same year that I let myself fall in love completely and then got my heart unmercifully broken. I laughed the hardest but also cried the most.

There’s another quote that I’ve read a few years back that I think applies to my 2012 (I’m sure we all have our own versions of 2012). It’s by Jonathan Safran Foer from one of my favorite books, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It goes:

You can not protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.

And that is true. If I had remained as closed off as I was a few years ago, if I had kept my walls as high as they used to be, then all these things/events would not have happened. I would not have been as happy or sad. I would not have learned all I did about myself, and I did learn a lot.

Farewell, 2012. You’ve been truly good to me. It will be 2013 in a few hours, and I can’t wait for it to start.

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